- Small, poorly cleaned rooms
- No beach
- Flaky service
- $12 cab to the South Beach party scene
The staff is generally indifferent, but the atmosphere is so relaxed that guests might be too mellow to care. The concierge has an amazing knowledge of the city.
Prior to my visit, I went to the Standard's Lido restaurant for dinner and waited more than 40 minutes to be seated, another 30 for food, and so on. So I had a general idea of what to expect.
There was no help getting my bags in the door (though valet attendants looked on as I clunked multiple bags up the front steps).
The front desk gave me an eight-second run-through of the property, scribbling notes on the back of my key card to show where my room was in relation to the pool, the spa, etc. In those eight seconds, I heard the words "pool," "spa," and possibly "dog hammer," but I couldn't be sure.
My room didn't have a room-service menu, so I called downstairs and they said they would send someone right up. After waiting more than 30 minutes, I just walked to the restaurant and placed an order directly with them.
Throughout my stay, I saw folks waiting for the valet, sometimes more than 30 minutes. During dinner, a line of cars juts from the entrance by about 100 feet.
Still, none of these service faux pas really bothered me. The relaxed vibe, no matter how much I tried to look past it, got the better of me. I generally felt like an obnoxious old fart for requesting anything at all.
On a positive note, the concierge is brilliant. When I asked for a restaurant recommendation near 10th and Collins Avenue (a random location more than a mile from the Standard), she was able to name four.
The Standard is on Belle Island, about a mile from South Beach. Cabs can take guests to the heart of the action for about $12.
Isolated on Belle Island, the Standard is over a bridge and a little more than a mile from South Beach (about $12 by cab). But the hotel offers a free shuttle to its beachside sister, the Raleigh hotel. I felt disconnected from all the doings and happenings throughout the city, but I suppose that was the whole point.
The only hangout within walking distance is the Purdy Lounge, a dark, thrift-store-furnished bar with a relaxed, hip quality better seen on New York's Lower East Side.
Simplicity is key here. There's no unnecessary extravagance, but rooms are sufficient.
My tiny, motel-style room had enough stains and rust to authenticate the adult summer-camp experience. It's all about simplicity.
There's a tiny flat-screen TV with a DVD player attached to the wall. Courtesy of the complimentary DVD library, I borrowed Old School, which I found thematically appropriate -- lots of aging hipsters reliving sexier days all around me.
Designed as a gratuitously sexy place for peace and serenity, the hotel is all about creating that memorable vacation euphoria.
There's a large infinity pool overlooking the bay that has an underwater sound system and a unique waterfall hot tub with hot water free-falling on guests' shoulders from about 8 feet up. The pool is open 24 hours, and I preferred to use it at night, when I could plunge into the eerie ectoplasm glow beneath the stars.
The famous Lido Spa is the Standard's main draw, with a Turkish hammam and playful treatments like body painting with mud (where they encourage a friend to blast you clean with a hose).
Emphasizing holistic well-being, the hotel offers daily yoga and meditation programs.
The second-floor fitness center has cardio, strength training, free motion equipment, and on-site personal trainers. The Center for Integral Living offers retreats and workshops on various topics, such as business, ecology, and sexuality (but I never witnessed any workshops in action).
A lounging crowd of 20-somethings sip cocktails and play bingo. There are also weekly party nights and a coed sauna.
I made it for Sunday bingo, which came highly recommended by SoBe locals who would never miss the opportunity to ride out the weekend until the very last minute. (Things really do die down at about 12:01 a.m.)
Sprawling across the denim sofas, bare feet up on the cushions, the dense crowd of 20-somethings have rekindled the cool in Grandma's favorite pastime. A hard-talking master of ceremonies screamed B-32 into the mike and even managed to summon enthusiasm from the crowd for the Standard bingo rally cry, "When I say balls, you say balls!"
Considering the weekly party nights (with promotions like ladies and bottoms drink free), the rather raunchy pool scene (especially once the body paint gets flying), and the coed sauna (no need to explain anything more), it's probably for the best that kids under 14 are not allowed on the property.
The Standard maintains its hipness by intentionally steering clear of kids (allows ages 14-and-up only).
"This is an adult playground, therefore children under 14 are not allowed anywhere on the property," the hotel proclaims in its "House Rules". Given the combined emphasis on spa treatments and scenester parties, it makes sense that the Standard wouldn't want kids around. Even teenagers might find the vibe a little too mellow or grown-up (though just about anyone will love the gorgeous pool).
The rooms can be a bit dingy, but they're fashionably dingy.
There were some serious cleanliness issues with the room, namely giant rust stains behind the toilet, and mold, but they all seemed somehow forgivable, like they were part of the eclectic, low-key décor.
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